That's true here. In my opinion there is no way to succeed at writing without really trying, but if you want to try... if you want to succeed... read on, my friends! Because there are tried-and-trued ways to do this thing!
Everyone wants to be an overnight success. Everyone wants to be The Next Big Thing... but no one knows what that is. Unless it's really Bitcoin!!!!
Who expected those spinner-things to take the world by storm? And how many parents and teachers have thrown the things away because they're a mind-draining annoyance?
Who expected a great story about a forlorn, magical boy that lived beneath a staircase to become an international sensation and catapult the author to amazing heights?
Who thought in a country that claims to be 75% Christian (according to a poll asking questions of self-definition) that a book about sexual bondage would sell over 50 million in the USA alone and hit 100 million by 2014 worldwide?
Why am I tossing these facts out there?
Because there is no sure thing. There is no baseline predictor that would have put Harry Potter, Sweet Valley High, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey and James Bond in the same exclusive high sales categories...
So do you have to copy one of these formats to ensure success?
No. No, because by comparison you've already lost. And to be yourself, to be your best writing self, you need to produce the best possible work that makes you happy.
So where do you focus? How do you choose?
1. What do you like to read? This is the first step toward what you write because you should start with something you'd like to read. If you love romance, write romance. If you're big into fantasy, then create your own netherworlds. If you love fearing for your life in the dark of a storm-filled night, write suspense or thrillers. WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE, FIRST. This doesn't mean you're locked in, darlings. It means you've begun. And if you never begin, well... no one goes anywhere without starting somewhere.
2. Prepare for disappointment. It is sure to come. My first book was a brilliant SAGA that went on forever. The first chapter was all telling. No dialogue. No action. Just emotion, how the hero was feeling. DEAD IN THE WATER. That's how bad it was... because I didn't know better. I knew I could write. I didn't know how to naturally just tell a story... Now I do.
3. Is this a hobby? Or a job? If it's a hobby, that's fine. You can write when you want, as you're able, but if it's a job... if this is your career path, your career change, then you need to shake things up a little. Think of the first four years as a college course load in creative writing. You don't have to spend a lot of money. You do have to invest time. You have to write. So set a goal. A reachable goal. 500 words/day for 5 days of the week.
4. Plan your work time. If you were selling Avon or going to a job or free-lancing for someone's firm, you would SET A WORK TIME. That's what we do when we have a job. So set a work time. Before work is what I do... I get up early, I write when no one's around or awake, even the resident mice are generally asleep (although not always) and I write. That way no matter what happens, that job's done.
5. If you're a night owl, then disappear for an hour or ninety minutes when others are watching television or doing puzzles or yelling at the football game, baseball game, basketball game, Olympics, Stock Market exchange, etc., etc., etc.
6. Don't make excuses. Just don't. I pull my hair out (luckily I have really thick hair, birds have been known to make nests in my hair) when people list the reasons they couldn't write. No pencils. No pencil sharpener. The house was too hot. The house was too cold. The stool's too high. The chair's too low. Standing to type hurts my back/side/leg/heel/fill in the blank... If you don't have the burn to do it, that's okay... Trust me, not everyone is meant to do this. And there's nothing wrong with letting it go, retiring, moving on, whatever you need to do to stay sane... If you can quit writing, do it. If you can't... then you're a writer. (R. A. Salvatore) although I've heard this in multiple places... but he's a clever Star Wars writer and I love Star Wars so we'll give R.A. the nod!
7. BUT IF YOU LOVE IT... if there is that dag-blasted burning desire inside you to make up stories, to weave tales, to invest in characters and fix their sorry existences, the existences you created for the poor slobs.... then keep going.
8. Develop self-discipline. THIS MAY BE THE HARDEST PART. If you're a self-disciplined person, then this won't make or break you. But if you aren't... Ouch. This is where we separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls because if you don't push yourself... no one else is going to do it for you! That's the difference between this and that college course load. No one's grading you. You are self-motivated. You're not even guilt-ridden because you are paying big bucks to a liberal arts university to get five people's ideas of what makes a good writer... Without the self-discipline this is Not A Fun Job... if you have to drag yourself to the laptop daily.... and make every excuse not to sit down.... then this is Not A Fun Job....
9. Can you teach yourself self-discipline? DUH! Of course you can. With practice. Sit down. Write. Sit down. Write. Sit down. Write. Remember that anything you make yourself do for THIRTY DAYS becomes a habit. Make writing your habit!!!
10. Love yourself. Love yourself, the amazingly wonderful creature God created you to be no matter if you succeed at writing or not. No matter if you never get that first book done, or you write five and they all stink (Ruthy raises hand on that one). Love yourself because you are special. You are a child of God. You are one of the siblings of the Most High. Wonderful. Counselor. The Prince of Peace. The Everlasting Father. You have it in you to do anything... but it does not have to be this.
And that's it. After publishing 44 novels and novellas with six more on the way in the next eighteen months... and almost 2,000,000 copies sold.... trust me. I know whereof I speak.
|My 45th book and my second mystery with Guideposts... Thank you, Susan Downs for thinking of me with this crazy fun series!|
But even saying that, there is no one right way to do this. There are plenty of wrong ways, and most of us learn from the school of hard knocks, but there are many correct ways... because if you get results, then you're doing all right!
So are you a writer? And what's your stumbling block? Let's chat, just us... :) And maybe a few dozen others, chiming in!
I've got a copy of my newest Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard book "SWEPT AWAY" looking for a home today, but you have to tell me you want it, darlings....
And a quick shout out to Amazon/Waterfall Press whose current $2.00 promotion drove "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" to #1 in three Christian genre categories! And #144 overall out of millions of books. To say I'm excited and thrilled is a gross understatement... What a fun thing to celebrate today!
And there's fresh coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a big ol' pitcher of sweet tea for youse!
Come on in. Visit with The Yank... and we'll talk writing. Just like it should be.
Good morning, Ruthy!! Another great post to kick off the day! So many "hard truths" in it, but that's how it goes if you want to make progress with your writing.ReplyDelete
Congrats on the "splash" that Welcome to Wishing Bridge is making! I downloaded my copy yesterday & look forward to reading it! :)
Glynna, good morning! Oh, those hard truths will get us every time, won't they??? But yes, I don't know any other way to make the progress desired... if that's what the writer's goal is!Delete
And I'm just over-the-moon with the response to the "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" promotion.... Happy dancing!
Ruthy, nobody tells the hard truths the way you do. Speaking the truth in love...Delete
I want any book you write, Ruthy. Funny you should mention Avon. I have been a representative for 24 years!ReplyDelete
Susan, I sold Mary Kay for many years while pursuing my writing. :)Delete
And I sold Tupperware back in the day and wedding gowns for eight years post 2000... which really helped me with wedding shop stories, LOL!Delete
"Wishing Bridge" is my current kindle-read. It's wonderful. And thanks for not being scared to give us the hard truth. Like a kick in the behind, we often need it, but no one's going to go out looking for it! :)ReplyDelete
Glynis, that's Ruthy's specialty! :) She has to give me a good kick every so often.Delete
Good morning, Glynis!Delete
Welcome to Wishing Bridge is at the top of my TBR pile, holding the coveted place on my night stand. :)
I need to finish one more book, and then it's Ruthy-time!
And I thought this post was SOFT comparatively, LOL! I was like on my best behavior.... but clearly even my best behavior begins and ends with a dash of snark! :) Glynis, I hope you love it. I am so pleased with that story, with the series, and readers' reactions.... That's always the best!!!Delete
You are not snarky. Just tough. Which we sometimes need.Delete
Hi Ruthy! Congratulations on hitting #1 on the Amazon charts, but can I just say I knew you were #1 all along?! Wishing Bridge is a wonderful story, I can't wait for book two. Can you update me on that release date so I can put it in my notebook I keep for all my new releases for 2018?ReplyDelete
I'd love to be in the drawing for your Guideposts Mystery, Swept Away! Thanks for the giveaway and for being such a diligent writer, I enjoy the benefits of all your hard work!
Tracey, that's so true that we get to reap the benefits!Delete
Laughing! I'm glad to make you happy, and I'm e-mailing something to you, a question... so see if it's all right and let me know...Delete
And yes, we have an OCTOBER date for the second Wishing Bridge story!!! It's in edits now, it's done, and I love it, Tracey... writing Thea's story was like absolute therapy. She was such a lost girl and so focused on how she could self-fix everything... but then that God-guy comes around and oops!!! :) And we should have the third mystery coming out in September... "Catch of the Day"... and oh my word, another delight to write. Honestly, Tracey, that mystery stuff is fun to play in! :)
Oh, and in AUGUST.... "Her Cowboy Reunion" the first of the Shepherd's Crossing series set in Idaho.... And then there's a fall cowboy novella, but no date on that yet. So it's been a busy winter... and not done yet, still working on Shepherd's Crossing 2.... And that will take us into 2019.Delete
Ruth, I love to hear you talk about all the fun you're having with writing! Such an encouragement. Thanks for this post, too.Delete
I'm so happy to hear how good "Wishing Bridge" is doing. It's next on my TBR list. I think my greatest writer's challenge is, after my day job and blocking out family time, still finding time for reading.
I want to read your new mystery, but don't enter me in the drawing. I will buy it.
Ruthy, great post! What gets in our way? Ourselves. When we really want something, we sit down and do it. So, (to myself) sit down and do it! Write, write, learn craft, write some more, learn craft, learn more. That's at the top of my to-do list. Thanks, Ruthy!ReplyDelete
I want a copy of your latest Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard book "SWEPT AWAY"!I want it.
Oh, Sally, you're so right. *sigh* Sometimes I'm my biggest road block!Delete
You get the grand prize for being so spot on. That is usually the answer! We get in our own way and then we get discouraged or all fussed up and we grind our teeth and wring our hands and go do something else... :) We're so human!!!Delete
I get in my way all the time!Delete
Ruthy, this was a great post. When I saw the title, I was so surprised. But I should have known what direction you would go! :)ReplyDelete
Great advice, like usual!
Hahahahaha! I got the inspiration because I had to explain to Dave what "Click bait" was... a misleading headline that tempts you to click on it... Like "ELLEN IS GONE FOREVER, FANS WEEP" and you click on it and it's all about Ellen DeGeneres's new show or something and nothing to do with the click bait...Delete
Ay yi yi.
Ruthy, dear, you definitely know where-of you speak.ReplyDelete
Self discipline? I thought I had self discipline until I met you! LOL!
I would add a #11 to your list: Always look toward the next goal.
Keep learning, keep writing, keep experimenting, keep looking ahead.
We all know of authors who "made it," and then wrote ten more books resting on those laurels. And those ten books were hardly worth reading.
There's no danger of that in your career, though! Because you aren't afraid to strike out, try something new, and head for the next goal. :-)
"Welcome to Wishing Bridge" is on my night stand, and "Swept Away" is already on pre-order. Can't wait to read them!
Oh, Jan, that is so right! That should be in the top 10 because it's huge for us to stay focused on the task at hand and look ahead at the same time... like driving. The ultimate writers multi-tasking, LOL!Delete
Jan, I agree. "The next goal" is a motivator.Delete
Ruthy, you are such an inspiration. Full of wisdom and sass. Mega congrats on your success.ReplyDelete
Writing is definitely not for wimps. It does take discipline. And deadlines help instill that discipline. Don't even get me going on excuses. If you don't feel like writing or don't want to, just say so. Life will always rear its ugly head and get in the way of the best laid plans. Of course, there are exceptions but, for the most part, we just have to learn to roll with it.
So how come you're not rolling out the blueberry muffins? Did you eat them all?
Mindy, I use the same saying about parenthood, and it's just as true with writing. That learn to roll with it... yes. I think that's a huge component of it. That's kind of why I began scheduling the super early morning writing time... I was waking up then, and it's so busy here! My youngest was 16 when I started and with six kids and weddings and parents aging and college, then weddings, there was never going to be a "perfect" time... so that hour before everyone was up became the solid core. And those muffins... There are FOUR left, and I'm staring at them, but I'm trying to be sacrificial for Lent so I will bring ALL FOUR to the table for you guys. There are 3 blueberry and one triple berry and of course the reason I play with things in the winter is to find recipes that will draw folks into the farm bakery goods come summer and fall... Baked goods, pumpkins and fall decoratives and mums.... It is the epitome of pretty around here in September and October!Delete
Thank you for this post! I need the encouragement to continue on this crazy journey. Sometimes I want that "overnight success" now that I'm in year 10 of my journey. But I give it to God and I keep writing! I write what I love.ReplyDelete
Ruth!!!! We can totally understand here! It took a bunch of us a long time. Mine was 8 years... I think Mary was 8 or 9... Working all the time, as we could, and learning. I'm so glad you've stayed in the game. That's awesome. And glad you found us!!!Delete
Ruth D, keep moving forward! It took me longer than 10 years to publish. But it finally happened. You'll get where you want to be, and you'll look back and see how all this time of hard work got you to the right place at the right time.Delete
It took me over 10 years, too (actually, over 12)! :)Delete
Of course I want Swept Away! Duh! Ruthy, I love your number two point especially about the book with all telling and emotion in the first chapter. Haven't we all written one of THOSE chapters? Or many of them? Didn't we get A's on cruddy stuff like that in high school when teachers told us how well we could write? We all have to experience that moment when we realize that we may be talented from a writing aspect, but there's a lot we have to learn. It's a hard lesson. I wrote my first book when I was 13. It was long hand, notebook paper and ball point pen, 400-some pages and absolutely horrid, but how I loved that book! And I was so proud of it! But here's the thing - my first book, first real book as an adult writer with a goal of writing a book, that one wasn't much better. Since then, I've learned so much and have gone back, torn apart my lovely book full of telling and emotion and made it into something better. It's not there yet, but maybe someday it will be. Keep learning, keep improving, and as you said, KEEP WRITING! Thanks, Ruthy!!!!ReplyDelete
Oh, when is the next Wishing Bridge being published? I absolutely CAN'T WAIT to read it.
You are so spot on with all of that... and my high school writings were SO DRAMATIC... SO MUCH TRAGEDY!!! Anne of Green Gables would have loved them, LOL! Oh my stars, it's funny to look back on, but two teachers then saw potential and I carried their words in my heart (just like Mary!!!!) all those years. And here we are, Cindy! The next Wishing Bridge is coming out in October... OCTOBER!!!! Thea's story, all done, in edits now. And they loved it, so that makes this author very, very happy! :)Delete
I am off to a slow start this year, but am determined now that I have finished some non-writing projects and gotten past the worst cold in years. First editing old stuff, though. I am having to force myself to edit old stuff before pouring myself into anything else new. :-)ReplyDelete
Amy, I'm in editing mode too right now. And contest mode. I miss the actual writing, hope to get back to it soon.Delete
Amy, we have to parcel out the time and prioritize, don't we? And I'm glad your better!!! I got the flu for the first time that I can remember and I was self-editing the second Wishing Bridge book... and finally I just sent it in and told them my brain was scrambled and we'd fix anything that wasn't right when I felt better... I couldn't engage my brain long enough to ferret answers and I kept falling asleep... Snoring! :) And I'm proud of you doing edits first. I make myself get them done, and get to a certain point in any project before I let myself start something new. It's like our own reward system!!! Kaybee, I hear you! And ditto!!!Delete
Ruthy, real writers see writing as a reward. BTW, your post today fits really well with one Angie Dicken had earlier this week on the Alley Cats. If we can't NOT write, we'd better write.Delete
Cutting my WIP. Painful, 2,000 words to go. Learning to cut without sacrificing color or flavor. Kind of like "cooking light."ReplyDelete
Would like a blueberry muffin if you've got any, gave up chocolate for Lent.
Don't enter me in the drawing, I won the book LAST week. I also went out and Bought "Her Secret Daughter." And I won a book on Pistols and Petticoats! Plenty of reading to get me through the dregs of winter.
Congrats on winning!!!! Yay!!! And huge thanks for buying "Her Secret Daughter", it is one of those books that just reaches right out and grabs our mother-hearts... I absolutely love that story. I hope you do, too!!!Delete
I love it so far. I'm about a third of the way through.Delete
Wow. Thank you for this encouragement. I do need to work on the consistent time to write. I do write, but too often let other things in life stop me. I do love the Guideposts series and mysteries. Would love to win a copy. Thanks again for the post.ReplyDelete
Tammie! I don't think I've met you before, welcome to Seekerville!!! And if I've missed you on other days, well, then, my bad!Delete
Those other things creep in, don't they? For all of us! Yikes! So learning to kick them to the curb is probably a first step for all of us... I think part of that is self-discipline and the other part is conquering fear. Fear of failure is another big stumbling block for writers. We all fear failure... but then I think of what Jesus faced... OH MY STARS. I look at that and realize that rejections aren't such a big deal after all. :)
Comparative reasoning wins the day!
Welcome to Seekerville, Tammie! Tell us something about yourself!Delete
It's easy to let the world creep into our writing time. I set a timer and write in 30 minute bursts, which works for me. Start setting aside a small block of time that's workable. You can always up that time period when the "world" calms down a bit. Just my two cents!
Ruthy, a wonderful post as usual. I really need the kick-in-the-pants your posts provide. Self-discipline is my downfall. I need to make some major changes in that for my writing as well as for my eating habits, which I have determined I must change.ReplyDelete
I plan to make a major change when I return from my weekend away. Tomorrow we head to Denver for my nephew's Eagle Scout ceremony. It will be pretty special because his Eagle Honor Guard to escort him in will consist of his three older boy cousins (including my son), his uncle and his dad(my brother) who are all Eagle Scouts. It will be a fun time. We are also going to surprise my sister-in-law since she turns 50 next month. She is the last of my siblings and spouses to turn 50, so we are going to have a little fun with her.
As you know, I don't need in the drawing. Your book will be the next one in the series to arrive in my mailbox. I am looking forward to it!
Congrats to your nephew on this amazing achievement!!! You are right to be so proud, Sandy! What a beautiful honor guard, too, and how special to have a family like this. God bless you and them!!!Delete
And happy birthday to Sis!!! If you snail mail me her address, I'll send her an autographed book... I'll add to the surprise!
Congratulations to your son, Sandy! We have two Eagle Scouts in our family, and I know the work and dedication he needed to get this high honor!Delete
Sandy, what a special weekend. Congrats to all your Eagles!Delete
Our son is an Eagle Scout too and, as Jan mentioned and as you know so well, the award does take work and dedication.
Happy birthday to your sister-in-law! You girls have fun celebrating!!!
Ruthy, I am sending you an email.Delete
I also meant to say congratulations on the success of Wishing Bridge!ReplyDelete
SQUEE!!!! THANK YOU!!!Delete
I think one of my biggest stumbling blocks is my health. However, I keep plugging away.
I have been discouraged with trying to be a part of the big critiquing loop on ACFW, but am hoping I can be a part of a smaller group soon. I think it will not be as overwhelming and I can also communicate and ask questions when I am confused by a suggestion of a way to improve.
I often feel so alone in this journey. Yet I am not alone. I have Seekerville and most importantly I have the Lord.
Thank you all for being there.
Wilani, I really like critiquing in a small group or even just with an individual person. I hope that works out better for you.Delete
No, you're not alone!
Wilani, are there any writing groups near you? Even one other writer with whom you can meet would be a help. Don't get discouraged! You're doing what you want to do and your stories give honor to God! Bless you! Hugs!Delete
The first few years of my writing life were lonely, too, Wilani. In the midst of moving, settling into a new town, not knowing anybody, and not even knowing how to connect with anyone! But I had Seekerville. :-)Delete
And keep plugging away. There are no shortcuts for anyone.
Oh, I love these gals that jumped in to talk with you, Wilani... it can be a lonely business, yes. But that's why we started this. Not for the folks who are born knowing how to write (I don't think they really exist, darling, but it seems that way sometimes, doesn't it?) We started it for the Wilanis and Patti Jos and Jackie, Jackie and Jackies and the Vinces and the Walts and the Cindy, Cindie and Cythias. :) The whole idea was to help, teach and inspire.Delete
Well, my idea is to be BOSSY.
But that's okay, too!
And I know the bigger critique group can be hard. If I were you I'd look for a single person who doesn't hate your work.
I say that because it took me a while to find Sandra.
You keep looking. I expect the right person is out there!
I'm not saying this to flatter you, Ruthy, but honestly, this may be the single best short article on writing that I have ever read. You said: Think of the first four years as a college course load in creative writing. You don't have to spend a lot of money. You do have to invest time. You have to write. So set a goal. A reachable goal. 500 words/day for 5 days of the week.ReplyDelete
Melanie says: Yes. A thousand times yes. Such perfect advice.
And the self-discipline part is what is hard for me right now, something that wasn't hard for me in the past. But there are several reasons for that that I won't go into here. LOL! It will get better. I will grow and circumstances will change, and I will keep pushing myself, because, pushing myself to write lots of books makes me happier than anything else I've ever done. LOL!
Ruthy, you do know whereof you speak. You rock.
Love. This. Post.
Okay, that doesn't sound gushy enough. THIS REALLY IS THE BEST ARTICLE ON WRITING I HAVE EVER READ!!!Delete
You covered the bases. And God will not condemn us when we fail. His grace is sufficient for me. And for you. Love it.
Melanie, I've had a hard time with changes, too. But I'm pushing my way out of it now. Praying for you to get back to your normal writing groove soon!Delete
Also meant to say that I hope Ruthy doesn't get the big head over your gushing. ;)Delete
Missy, I think it's too late for that!Delete
THE BIG HEAD!!!! NEWSFLASH!!! RUTHY HAS THE BIG HEAD!!!Delete
As if we didn't know that, LOL!
Melanie, first... thank you. I've sent your payment through Paypal, darling. Who uses checks these days??? :)Delete
Your words are so kind! Bless you. Really, truly. What a kind, nice, awesome thing to say. Now I'll smile all day because I wrote the BEST WRITING POST EVER!!!
I love you.
LOL!!! Well, I meant it, every word. :-) Love and hugs to you, Ruthy, and all the Seekers and Seeker villagers! We are all pretty special in God's sight. Ruthy said so! :-)Delete
Congrats, Ruthy, on your success!ReplyDelete
You mentioned needing to understand story, which is so important. Many folks can write, but building those words into a story that grabs the reader and won't let go is a skill that takes time to develop. Most writers are constantly trying to improve their craft. We're never THERE, wherever THERE is. We're always trying to improve and grow as a writer. There's always something new to learn or another writing challenge on the horizon. Publication isn't the end, it's only the beginning!
Amen to that, Debby. There's always something to improve. It seems the more I learn, the more I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. :)Delete
I am in total agreement with both of you... And our styles change, the stories might deepen or change or veer left or right... but you know, when I go back and re-read early Seeker books (or early Karen White or Lisa Wingate, etc) I am so impressed by the writing.... that shows me how careful editors are to work with new authors. To polish and teach. And God bless Love Inspired for the time they put into that with each of us... I don't know another publisher who spends that much editorial time working with authors before and after the sale... And so many! They are really a wonder.Delete
Yes, learning to tell the story was with great insight from Seekers and listening at conferences... Nuggets of information to be grabbed, polished and used.
I hosted book club on Tuesday...Fat Tuesday. One of the gals brought Paczki, a yummy Polish doughnut typically eaten on Shrove Tuesday. So yummy!!!ReplyDelete
So...I've brought Paczki doughnuts for everyone today!!! So good! Enjoy! No calories in Seekerville. I might eat two! :)
We had a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at church. It was so yummy! Your doughnuts sound amazing, too.Delete
Debby, they're so good! We have them up here, too, and when we used to have Polish bakeries my father would buy them just before Lent. He was a bus driver and his routes in the city would often take him down Hudson Ave. where the Polish/American section of Rochester was.Delete
Remember those old neighborhoods? We had a German one, Polish, Ukrainian, Italian, Greek... That was when I was a little girl, before things got modernized with bigger groceries, and I remember some of those shops... and Paczkis and Greek chocolatiers and Fastnachts and Polish cheesecake with pineapple filling... oh, those ethnic baked goods! You made me smile!
OOOOO I want to read Swept Away soooo much! Thanks, Ruthy, for the chance. I am excited about your other books coming out this year! Blessings on your writing~~~ReplyDelete
Jackie, I'm with you!Delete
Aren't we glad Ruthy is such a prolific writer?
Yes, Jan, we are glad! :)Delete
I love you guys!!! Jackie, I'm tucking your name in right now! I hope folks love Swept Away... I had so much fun plotting it and took bits and pieces from actual happenings... and it worked! At least in my little head it worked, LOL!Delete
Yes! It makes me crazy when I hear people say they want to be a writer, but can't "find the time" to write. I get that life is busy, but if you truly, passionately want to be a writer then MAKE the time. But expecting life to hand you extra time is not realistic. There are seasons to our lives and perhaps some people don't have a scrap of time no matter how they rearrange their schedule, but hopefully a new season will come where they do have the time.ReplyDelete
Exactly, Linda! A writer learns how to MAKE the time!Delete
When my children were young, I would steal five minutes at a time to read. One page, standing at the kitchen counter where I could still keep tabs on the chaos in the next room. But I made the time to read.
But like you said, the seasons change! Young moms, folks in the midst of elder care, people with busy working schedules...you do what you can with the time you can carve out for yourself.
Jan, you reminded me of the days I would start writing around 11 pm after my kids and husband were in bed. I would write until 3 or 4 am sometimes! Nowadays, I can't write that late--I nod off. LOL Plus, now the the kids are grown, I can do my writing during the day. :)Delete
I placed my electric typewriter on a high kitchen counter and stood to type. The children played at my feet. :)Delete
Debby, I can totally see you doing that! I did that, too, until they outnumbered me by 6:1 ratio... then I set it aside for awhile. But even way back then when I was selling Tupperware and editor Beth Jamison was a toddler, I earned a Royal Selectric electric typewriter with my Tupperware sales... because it was my "ticket" to my dream... And then eight years later a word processor!!! And then my first little computer.... and then the first one I bought with my own money, working extra waitress shifts!!!Delete
It's a business where it pays to be patient and persistent! For certain! And when we look back then... gosh, I wouldn't change any of that. I learned so very much!
Linda, you're right. Making the time is the clutch thing if you want a career.... And believing in yourself, that God-given talent, and working toward the goals, one at a time... And I'm okay with folks realizing it's not their cup of tea, because it would be the most aggravating job in the world if you just plain didn't like having to do it... But I will admit to loving it! :) So it makes me smile to write. (although I have my moments of scowling at stories and wondering where on earth I went wrong!)Delete
You know the old saying... "Open mouth, insert foot" ....well In this case it's "Ruthy opens mouth, and wisdom comes out" 😊ReplyDelete
I'm always amazed at your words Ruthy! Such simple truths, yet so profound. Even me was a reader can glean so much out of today's post. I think anyone can take what you said and apply it to life! The recurring theme I keep reading is this; don't compare yourself to anyone else. Or in a writers case, your writing. Because the moment you begin to do that, you will lose your own unique voice. The one God has given YOU...who knows if He will use what you have to say in a book to touch a certain reader when said reader needs it?? And if you write like so-and-so, that reader won't hear what God has for them. Now, I'm not saying God can't use some other author, I'm just saying you have a unique opportunity to be the instrument God uses, and who wouldn't want that?? It's such a privilege and honor to be the one God uses, don't you think? 😉
Congrats on the Amazon ranking!!!! I was so blessed by this book and am not a bit surprised that it is doing so well!! I loved it and am SO looking forward to the next one in the series. In fact, our very own Kav just reviewed this on her blog today (with a giveaway) 😊 Shameless plug there...HAHA!
Talking about books, please out my name in the kitty dish for "Swept Away", thanks so much! I'm sure it will do just that for me 😉😊
Oh, Trixi, thank you for all your kind words! I'm so glad you discovered us and you are such a proponent of Christian fiction... what a blessing you are! And you're right about that voice, that gift. It's God-given and while we want to refine it, we don't want to mess with it over much... Why replace it when fine-tuning will do?Delete
Tucking your name in for "Swept Away"!!!
I’m not a writer, but love reading. Would love to read your newest!ReplyDelete
MJSH, I'll tuck your name in! We publish winners in the Weekend Edition on Saturday... come on by and check the listing!Delete
And thank you for being here, we love readers THE MOST. Like THE MOST EVER!!! :)
This is sooo true.ReplyDelete
"Without the self-discipline this is Not A Fun Job... if you have to drag yourself to the laptop daily.... and make every excuse not to sit down.... then this is Not A Fun Job...."
I always do better when I'm on a writing roll. At least 5 days/week. If not, I drown in this is Not A Fun Job. Writing is so not fun 2-3 days/month.
I love the way you speak the truth Ruthy.
Aw, thank you, Connie! :) I think the habit formation is a huge help to us because then the story rolls more freely from us, onto the page... Even if it's just a little bit, a page or two, it freshens our brains and keeps the story active. I'm with you... I do better without long breaks!!!Delete
Hello darling Ruthy!ReplyDelete
:) Loved your post!
My stumbling block is currently health challenges. So I'm more of a reader than a writer lately.
Please do enter me in your drawing for a copy of your newest Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard book "SWEPT AWAY" :) And congratulations on your amazing writing accomplishments!!!!!!!!!!!
May God continue to bless you and your writing! And all of Seekerville!
Phyllis, I'm tucking your name right in... and the health thing is a tough one, isn't it? So that reminds me to remind people... Health is not guaranteed. Write when you can, while you can. Take nothing for granted. Being human, we tend to think that tomorrow will be just like today... OOPS! :) Sometimes it's not so this is a great reminder to take advantage of our time as given... Thanks for that golden nugget, Phyllis... and I'm praying for your good health.Delete
What an encourager you are, Ruthy, and a true source of inspiration! Here I am trying to turn out my second manuscript and you have "how many???" planned for the next 18 months? You're amazing. A cup of coffee (heavy on the cream) as I end my workday--and an entry in the drawing--please and thank you. :)ReplyDelete
Karen, you're in and I hesitated before adding that line because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging... perish the thought! But I wanted new folks to know that the 1K/1day adds up... that when you do that for 8 years, it's a LOT OF BOOKS, LOL! And I'm having the best time ever.Delete
I keep my math simple... and my goals flexible... but I love getting things done and checking them off my to-do list... mostly so I can add new things, Karen!!! :)
Ruthy, when I compare myself to you and what you've accomplished, it's tough to self love. So I try NOT to compare myself to you, and instead think of myself as Margaret Mitchell writing that one book "Gone With the Wind." lolReplyDelete
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's so funny and so true because it's not about comparison... and I want to slap that stinkin' Scarlett chick, she is one of my least favorite people in print... But I hear you, loud and clear.Delete
And we have to add my New York frenetic personality into the mix. :)
I loved your list of people's excuses, Ruthy! I agree, when people say "I'm too busy" to do whatever it might be, it's not a priority for them. Congratulations on "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" it's next up on my Kindle and I can't wait! By the way, it was listed on my Inspired Reads email today...more sales for you...YAY!ReplyDelete
JILL!!! I didn't know it was going on Inspired Reads, too! OH, SNAP!!!! They told me they were doing a BookBub promo, but this is frosting on the cake... with sprinkles. Thank you Waterfall Press!!!!Delete
Yes, it's there! I just emailed it to you. :)Delete
P.S.S. I loved your post on Pence today!Delete
Oohhh --- I totally needed this today, Ruthy! First off, congrats on Wishing Bride's success. Not surprised. I read it this week and LOVED it. Am eager for Thea's and Jazz's stories. And yearning to return to the nurturing community of Wishing Bride. When will the next book come out?ReplyDelete
So writing stumbling blocks. Oy. I can finally fess up here now that the worst is over...when I got my superbug infection and ended up with chronic pain and a physical disability I also lost my words. Literally. My vocabulary dwindled, my ability to string words together, to express myself...to even talk...it all just petered away. Think having a story in your head but the vocabulary and writing ability of a five-year-old. It was awful!
So, two and a half years ago when I got into a really good physio program at the hospital rehab centre they set me up on a program not only for my body, but with exercises to stimulate my brain as well. Who knew the physical was so meshed with the mental?
But, honestly, I have always thought, prayed, plotted, when I walked. I used to walk hours a day. And when the walking stopped so did the thinking. lol I had to do the silliest cognitive exercises. Matching pictures, making words out of letter cards...oh and physio said reading would be helpful. lol That therapy was not a problem. At. All. But it wasn't until I got better at walking this past summer that my words came tumbling back. I think there's a psychological component to that. Like I created a mental block or something. So now, I'm slowly starting back to putting words onto paper and cautiously optimistic but also kinda scared. So this focusing advice is a great starting point for me. Points I can embrace, and some I struggle with but it will all definitely help me going forward.
Darling girl, physical, mental or psychological and emotional, I don't care!!! I'm so glad the words are coming back because I REMEMBER your contest entries... and how absolutely beautiful those words were. I've been praying you'd return, Kav!!! Oh, happy day! Oh, gloriously happy day! BIG GRIN AT RUTHY'S PLACE!!!!!Delete
Congratulations on such exciting success for your latest!ReplyDelete
Right now I'm somewhere between hobby and professional. And forcing the self-discipline is my biggest challenge.
Linda, we've all been there. And honestly, it's a big decision. For me, it was always my dream, to be published. And I always believed it would happen if God gave me enough time on the planet... and he did! THANK YOU, GOD! :)Delete
So that decision is a personal one on multiple levels... but if you love it. If you're tenacious enough to deal with the down sides because you love the up sides so much... it is the best job in the world. Even on the worst possible day.
Teaching ourselves that self-discipline trick is huge... but the other thing is, if it makes you hate writing... then just do it for your own pleasure. At least for now. I think God has a path for all of us, we all have personal inclinations... and it's okay to travel that path with love.
Oh Right, your sweet voice is just what I needed at the end of a long day/week (and there is still one more day to go). This week has wiped out my ability to be consistent but after I hit a drive-they (because this Momma is just done) it is going to be time to snuggle in bed with my iPad and write. I can’t not write. I feel strangled without it. Hugs, love, and prayers. So glad I checked into Seekerville this evening.ReplyDelete
Right= Ruthy, stupid autocorrect. 🤦♀️ Did I say it has been a LONG week?Delete
Hey. I live in an alternative world where Ruthy = Right. :) It's like my mantra!!! (laughing!!!) Crystal, I'm so glad you got over here, too. Hooray! I love writing, too, I totally understand that strangulation reference... I like doing what I do. A lot. Good to see you here!!!Delete
Ah, Ruthy, you always give me the jolt I need! At the moment, I'm taking a much-needed vacation, but I'll be back at it the first Monday I'm home! :)ReplyDelete
That's my girl! We all need a vacation from time to time... and Erica, I know your work ethic... You've got this, totally. :) Go get 'em, Tiger!!!Delete
An excellent post, Ruhty! When I first started off writing, my biggest issue was the self-discipline. I wrote when I felt like it. When I had the inspiration. When I had nothing else to do. It would take me forever to get anything written. But starting November I set a word goal for every day starting low and as each month progressed I added more word count (I am now able to pretty easily get 1,500 words done a day). I can only really get it done four days a week, but hey that's still nothing to sneeze at with school and college and other responsibilities. And since November I've written 70,000+ words in that story (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??). So yes, you are certainly right, you can teach yourself self-discipline, because I was probably the least self-disciplined author out there. Thank you for your words of encouragement!ReplyDelete
I would like to be entered in the drawing for your book :)
Nicki, you're in the drawing, but more than that... sweet, sweet young woman... you're on the road to success. LOOK WHAT YOU'RE JUGGLING! You're young, you're in school, you have a life... Girl, you are doing it! I am so proud of you. This work ethic is a habit that will help you in everything you do, not just writing. Good for you!!!Delete
Maybe there aren't ten ways to succeed at writing without really trying, but Ruthy, you sure do make it look that way... at least to the uniformed.ReplyDelete
Those of us who KNOW you, know that you work harder than 99.9% of the rest of us. But I'd still love to have a month-long documentary watching you work to figure out how you do it. :)
Oh, you sweet, lovely lady.... Thank you, Pam, I swear (well I try not to swear, actually) but you know what I mean... it's that early morning time that does it for me... because then nothing else in the day stresses me because I got 1K written... And then if I get in more writing time, SWEET!!! But if I don't, that 1K is in the bank... Add in frenetic New Yorker... :) And caffeine... Simmer and stir all day, LOL!Delete
Ruthy, I can always depend on you for that incredible kick in the shorts. I'm guessing cheerleader in a prior lifetime, am I right? No self-respecting athlete could look you in the eye if they didn't think they'd given 100% under those Friday Night Lights!!ReplyDelete
Gotta go write those words...
Eighth grade cheerleader at Sacred Heart School in Rochester... And made the B squad in high school but opted to work a job instead. Back then, jobs were so sought after, that you didn't dare tell an employer you had to leave for practice/games, etc... The times have changed! You outed me!!!! Then Title 9 came into play and I urged my girls to do anything but cheer for others... I wanted them to cheer for themselves. :)Delete
I always LOVE a Ruthy-post!! Reading your words of wisdom and seeing how many books you've written since you began are always an inspiration. Although I'm still waiting (patiently, LOL) for you to bottle and sell your energy - - WOW!!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on the success of your amazing writing career, and thank you for being such a positive influence for writers. Your books are on my Keeper Shelf (which reminds me---I loved Wishing Bridge and will post my review right away!).
Hugs, Patti Jo
P.S. No need to toss me in the drawing---I plan to order Swept Away. :)
Oh, Patti Jo, thank you! Thank you so much for letting me yell at you! Well done!!! :) And God bless Love Inspired for giving me that call, and then for being receptive to my kind of story telling... that was a huge plus for me. Not that I don't have to change stories, oh my stars... I did a total re-write on one recently and I realized that the editor was spot on... So I did it and the book came out much better... Nobody gets it right all the time, or even all that often... but that's what they pay us for. To do what it takes to put the right edge on the story.Delete
I am so blessed.
Aaahhhhhh! This! I love your down-to-earth-tell-it-like-it-is voice. This is a post I needed, as I have quit my job and have been "resting" and getting my home back in order. But now...it is time to roll up my sleeves and dig into writing. I'm like Connie and tend to do better once I'm on a roll. Thank you so much for the encouragement.ReplyDelete
Sherrinda, me too! Missy says the same thing... I think most of us are that way. And I hear you about the household things. I make some of those my "reward" for getting writing done. That sounds strange but it works in my head. (a scary place to be!!!) I'm so excited for you! What an opportunity! Now the trick is to not get caught in the trap of "I've got plenty of time, I'll write later." and then never get to it. That happens to so many of us... I'm cheering for you!Delete
Ruthy, congratulations on your latest success! I haven't read it yet but will remedy that soon. I sure hope I get to meet you and give you a big ole Texas hug someday. You always say the smartest things, and we all hear your heart. So thank you :)ReplyDelete
Oh, Pat, what a kind, wonderful, marvelous thing to say. My children would argue the "smartest things" part, but what do they know???? :)Delete
Bless you. Thank you. And I hope you love the book/books when you get them. Tucking your name into the drawing! And thank you so much for coming over here, lovely lady!!!
Ruthie, thanks for the kick in the pants. I was going to write for February, but the ideas felt forced and working with my nine year old for homeschooling has been difficult. I started a relaxing cross-stitch and the ideas have been flowing. I will write after school is over on May 4th. Thanks! I want to be entered into the giveaway for your book.ReplyDelete
Ruthy, I'm late to the party as usual, but wanted to get in my Congratulations on your successes to you. I'm going to move Welcome To Wishing Bridge to the TOP of my TBR pile...I won the audible, and my other half uses CC on the TV, so I'll listen at night while sitting with him.ReplyDelete
I'm sitting between hobby and professional...writing is not a money thing for me (thank you, Lord), but I do want to be published. And, self-discipline is an ongoing trial for me. I think I'll try the 30-day challenge, and make it a habit (I have sooo few...right!).
Thanks again, for the shove and inspiration.
You can add my name to the hat if it isn't too late.
Your advice isn't just for writers. We all need a kick in the pants sometime! Thanks Ruthy and I REALLY want a copy of your newest Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard book "SWEPT AWAY"!ReplyDelete
Thanks Ruthy. You always cut right to the heart of the matter and prod us to do our best. You are our number one cheerleader. I love you books and your posts.ReplyDelete
I've always been known to have a strong self-discipline. It has been the envy of many. In reading your post, I'm reminded that I was meant to be a writer. Since I started in late 2010, this enviable trait of mine has only gotten better. To sit down for a few hours to write is a lot to say for someone who's very active. In fact, since writing I have published 4 books...and more are coming...and run in 5 full marathons.ReplyDelete
I remember a dear friend of mine telling me back in 2014, when my commitment to write had taken another level: "It's in you." Just those 3 words only made my desire to write even stronger.
I had to laugh at the questions about 50 Shades and Harry Potter. Many times, I'd go to events where there would be more authors of paranormal romance, fantasy, and erotic romance than any in my genre. And they would get more attention.
I'll just keep writing and going to events until I find a great target audience.
It's my life. If I go one day without it, I'm lost.
Great article. Love your beginning with the click bait. And, I agree, writing definitely takes discipline . . . and perseverance.ReplyDelete